Ulysses S. Grant, the eighteenth president of the United States, was born April 27, 1822, at Point Pleasant, Clermont county, Ohio. At the age of seventeen he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated in June, 1843, and was given his brevet as second lieutenant and assigned to the Fourth Infantry. He remained in the service eleven years, in which time he was engaged in the Mexican war with gallantry, and was thrice brevetted for conduct in the field. In 1848 he married Miss Julia Dent, and in 1854, having reached the grade of captain, he resigned and engaged in farming near St. Louis. In 1860 he entered the leather business with his father at Galena, Illinois.
On the breaking out of the war, in 1861, he commenced to drill a company at Galena, and at the same time offered his services to the adjutant-general of the army, but he had few influential friends, so received no answer. He was employed by the governor of Illinois in the organization of the various volunteer regiments, and at the end of a few weeks was given the colonelcy of the Twenty-first Infantry, from that state. His military training and knowledge soon attracted the attention of his superior officers, and on reporting to General Pope in Missouri, the latter put him in the way of advancement. August 7, 1861, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general of volunteers, and for a few weeks was occupied in watching the movements of partisan forces in Missouri. September 1, the same year, he was placed in command of the Department of Southeast Missouri, with headquarters at Cairo, and on the 6th of the month, without orders, seized Paducah, which commanded the channel of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers, by which he secured Kentucky for the Union. He now received orders to make a demonstration on Belmont, which he did, and with about three thousand raw recruits held his own against the Confederates some seven thousand strong, bringing back about two hundred prisoners and two guns. In February, 1862, he moved up the Tennessee river with the naval fleet under Commodore Foote. The latter soon silenced Fort Henry, and Grant advanced against Fort Donelson and took their fortress and its garrison. His prize here consisted of sixty-five cannon, seventeen thousand six hundred stand of arms, and fourteen thousand six hundred and twenty-three prisoners. This was the first important success won by the Union forces. Grant was immediately made a major-general and placed in command of the district of West Tennessee. In April, 1862, he fought the battle of Pittsburg Landing, and after the evacuation of Corinth by the enemy Grant became commander of the Department of the Tennessee. He now made his first demonstration toward Vicksburg, but owing to the incapacity of subordinate officers, was unsuccessful. In January, 1863, he took command of all the troops in the Mississippi Valley and devoted several months to the siege of Vicksburg, which was finally taken possession of by him July 4, with thirty-one thousand six hundred prisoners and one hundred and seventy-two cannon, thus throwing the Mississippi river open to the Federals. He was now raised to the rank of major-general in the regular army. October following, at the head of the Department of the Mississippi, General Grant went to Chattanooga, where he overthrew the enemy, and united with the Army of the Cumberland. The remarkable successes achieved by him pointed Grant out for an appropriate commander of all national troops, and in February, 1864, the rank of lieutenant-general was made for him by act of congress. Sending Sherman into Georgia, Sigel into the Valley of West Virginia and Butler to attempt the capture of Richmond he fought his way through the Wilderness to the James and pressed the siege of the capital of the Confederacy. After the fall of the latter Grant pressed the Confederate army so hard that their commander surrendered at Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865. This virtually ended the war.
After the war the rank of general was conferred upon U. S. Grant, and in 1868 he was elected president of the United States, and re-elected his own successor in 1872. After the expiration of the latter term he made his famous tour of the world. He died at Mt. McGregor, near Saratoga, New York, July 23, 1885, and was buried at Riverside Park, New York, where a magnificent tomb has been erected to hold the ashes of the nation's hero.
From A Biographical History of Darke County Ohio, Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago, 1900